On 7th March 2011 the The Council of the European Union (at a meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council) adopted a new “European Pact” for gender equality for the period 2011 -2020. It has attracted very little attention in the media, but could have a real effect on social policy, and employment relations in the coming months.
It urges action by the member states and the Union, by taking measures to :
eliminate gender sterotypes, ensure equal pay for equal work and promote the equal participation of women in decision-making; improve the supply of affordable and high-quality childcare services and promote flexible working arrangements; strengthen the prevention of violence against women and the protection of victims, and focus on the role of men and boys to eradicate violence.
It also reaffirms the importance of integrating the gender perspective into all policies including external actions of the EU.
Gender equality is enshrined in the EU treaty, which states “that the Union shall promote equality between women and men, and that this aim is to be pursued in all Union’s activities”.
Many will question whether this will be the hammer to finally break the glass ceiling.